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Pemberton councillor asks for more support for community forest

Pemberton Councillor Richard Doucet is calling for more community support to help the council’s effort in establishing a community forest around the village.

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Doucet recently visited Kaslo in the Kootenays to see how that town was able to organize its community forest. He believes the first step for Pemberton is to gather widespread community input.

"That’s the idea of a community forest, that the community would set the objectives of how the allowable cut would be cut. You can set the standards on trees and coverage and how much to leave," said Doucet. "But we’re no where near a community forest; we need the community to come together to start a community forest committee."

The history of Pemberton’s community forest is related to Weyerhaeuser’s controversial decision not to log the area behind the Signal Hill elementary school last September. Weyerhaeuser still owns the rights to that timber and they will have to be compensated, in some way, for not cutting it.

Doucet said he was not aware of any correlation between Weyhaeuser’s timber and Pemberton’s community forest but he did acknowledge that the community forest would be made up from "the allowable cut that they’re (the province) taking back from the big companies."

"They’re giving this wood out to communities and there could be competition for this wood," he said. "Squamish might get it or maybe Pemberton, because we’re looking at doing a joint community forest with Mount Currie since we’re so close, and the forests all around the Pemberton Valley should be included.

"There’s a long way before we get it, but if we do we’ll have an opportunity to say that there’s a percentage of that wood that we could keep in our community and that’d be great."

Doucet said ideally 10 or 12 people from the community would come forward to form a community forest committee and anyone interested should contact the council.

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